Drop files to upload.
Faithlife
Faithlife

Matthew 4:12-25 Part 3

Matthew  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
Notes & Transcripts
During our last time together we looked at verses 18-22. In those verses we saw Jesus walking by the Sea of Galilee and calling out to Peter and his brother Andrew and saying, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And shortly thereafter, from that same place, Jesus encounters James the son of Zebedee and John his brother in a boat with their father mending their nets, and in similar fashion calls them to himself.. In both cases the men immediately leave their boats and nets to follow Jesus. They’re willing follow Jesus at the cost of their own careers and even their own family.
We also read Luke chapter 5 and took a closer look at Jesus’ interaction with these men. There were crowds that had followed Jesus while he was at the Sea of Galilee and they were pressing hard against him, so Jesus continued teaching them from the vantage point of Peter’s boat. We were told that after speaking Jesus instructed Simon Peter to “Put out into the deep and let down [his] nets for a catch.”
Simon is reluctant at first but after letting down his net he’s astonished to find it overflowing with fish. So much so that he calls to James and John, his partners, to help him and his brother Andrew with the catch. Peter is overwhelmingly humbled by this event and Jesus says to him, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And it was at this point we saw the connection between this verse and Matthew chapter 4 verse 19 which reads, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
We observed first that Jesus’ call was effectual, in other words his call accomplished what he intended it to accomplish. Just like our own salvation story God’s internal call was effectual, it did not fail. By His mercy he brought each one of us to repentance and faith in his Son.
And for Jesus’ disciples this meant forsaking everything for Christ’s sake, leaving everything behind to follow him. So we were left with the question, “Are we also willing to leave everything behind to follow Christ?” and “Is Jesus at the center of our dreams and our ambitions?” “Is Jesus worth following?”
Secondly, we observed that it was Jesus who filled Peter’s nets with fish. As Christians we are called to do the work of an evangelist, to share the gospel with those around us (our coworkers, our family, our friends, the person in line at the grocery store, or the person at our dinner table) . However, we learned here in Luke that while it is our responsibility to let down our nets, it is Jesus’ responsibility to fill those nets. That it is the Holy Spirit’s job to bring men and women to repentance and faith in the Son of God. That we can take great comfort and have great assurance that ultimately we will be successful in our evangelistic endeavors, because God is unfailingly at work in others as we share the good news of his Son.
This week we turn our attention to verses 23-25 here in Matthew chapter 4. Let’s read it again together,

23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

In these passages we see at least two major themes that will become the hallmarks of Jesus’ ministry. The first is what we’re going to call Jesus’ words, and the second is what we’re going to call Jesus’ works.
ADVERTISEMENT
In verse 23 we see Jesus traveling throughout all of Galilee and he’s “teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.” Jesus’ ministry was first and foremost a message, so he travels from place to place teaching and proclaiming this message. Even in verses 18-22 when Jesus called his disciples to himself the immediate setting is him teaching a large crowd from a boat on the Sea of Galilee.
The gospel of the kingdom
And the message that he proclaims is, as Matthew puts it, “the gospel of the kingdom”, or in other words his message is the good news of the kingdom of God. In fact, it’s here we find Matthew’s first use of the word gospel, or in the Bible’s original language ‘evangelion’ [a-van-gellion] which is where we get the word evangelical from. So when Christians describe themselves as evangelical what they are saying is that we have a common belief in the good news of God’s kingdom, which is salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.
The good news boils down to this, salvation from God’s just wrath toward sinners through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we may enter the kingdom of God and live with him forever. When Jesus speaks of the good news of the kingdom of God he is making reference to God’s reigning and ruling, so
Transferred to the kingdom of his beloved Son
There are times when the G
When Jesus speaks of the good news of the kingdom of God he is making reference to God’s reigning and ruling.
Now you might wonder what does this good news of salvation have to do with God’s kingdom. Well, the good news is that this salvation not only saves us from something (the wrath of God), but saves us to to something (namely, to God himself). We become children of God, we are born again. We become citizens of heaven, and as sons and daughters of God we inherit his kingdom. Jesus’ proclamation is a calling into this kingdom of which he is the King. The writer of Colossians describes it like this, “[God the Father] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Jesus the king of this kingdom
Do you remember what the thrust of Matthew’s Gospel during these first 4 chapters was? It was to show us that Jesus is not only the son of David but David’s Lord, Immanuel, or God with us, that Jesus is the Messiah and true king of Israel. This is why John the Baptist came preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Again, why? Because the king had come! Jesus had come. And ultimately the good news of the kingdom is that the king of that kingdom had come. And Matthew tells us that this king “went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and affliction among the people.”
Now, I want to point something out back in verse 23,

23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.

Jesus teaches largely inside of synagogues
Let me ask you something. Where is one of Jesus’ primary platforms for ministry? Where does this text say that he regularly teaches? He’s teaching from inside the synagogues, and it’s also the same place from which the Apostle Paul would go and preach the gospel as recorded in the Book of Acts.
Jewish house of worship
Now synagogues are essentially a Jewish house of worship. My father-in-law actually spent a portion of his career working at a synagogue in Dayton, OH called Beth Jacob. It’s important to note though that a synagogue is different than the Jewish Temple, there is only one Temple but there can be countless synagogues. One of the primary differences is that sacrifices are to be performed at the Temple but not at synagogues.
Jesus’ miracles
Worship format
The format of worship within a synagogue is typically threefold, 1) prayer, 2) the reading of Scripture, and 3) the exposition or teaching of that Scripture. And while priests as setup by Moses had historically been the teachers of God’s law, over time, scribes, or what we might call lawyers today, became the teachers of God’s law throughout most Jewish houses of worship.
The origin of the synagogue
And what I find particularly interesting is that the synagogue appears to have come into existence only a few hundred years before Christ. In fact, many historians and theologians believe that the synagogue came into existence as a result of Israel’s return from exile around 400 BC. And more specifically, as a result of Ezra’s reading of the Torah. Now Ezra was both a priest and a scribe and he was instrumental in leading the Israelites out of the land of Babylon. When the Israelites arrive back in their native land Ezra begins reading the God’s law to them. says this,

8 And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the LORD had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 4 And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. 6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. 8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

So what we have here is what appears to be an infantile model of what would later be used for synagogues all across Israel and anywhere a large enough population of Jewish men could gather for worship. Those who were proficient in God’s law, namely scribes or rabbis would teach weekly on the Sabbath and do just as Ezra did and read from God’s Law while giving the meaning, or sense of the text, so that the people understood what was being read. It’s what we would call biblical exposition.
And within synagogues during Jesus’ day it was customary, and even expected, for visiting rabbis to teach at the local synagogue which would have likely made it a natural platform for Jesus to teach and preach this good news of the kingdom. And interestingly enough it’s in a similar place of worship, namely the local church, that a minister continues Jesus’ work to teach and proclaim that very same message. It’s Jesus’ words that continue to endure even to this very day.
Now you’ll notice in the second half of verse 23 Jesus not only proclaims this good news of the kingdom but he goes around “healing every disease and affliction among the people.” And it even goes on to say that the people “brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.” Not only had God’s kingdom come in word but in power.
Purpose of these miracles
Now Jesus performed countless miracles throughout his ministry and only a handful are recorded in the gospels for us, but they’re recorded for several reasons, and I believe at least two of which are obvious here.
Inauguration of God’s kingdom
The first reason behind Jesus’ miracles was to confirm his identity. As we’ve seen thus far Matthew has been building his case that Jesus is not only the Messiah but the very Son of God. At the end of John’s gospel
First, these miraculous healings point us to the eventual consummation of God’s heavenly kingdom. In other words it is but a foretaste of what is to come and what we are to expect in the new heaven and on the new earth. says,

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Secondly,
The miraculous healings that followed Christ were strong evidences of the inauguration of God’s kingdom on earth. You may remember that when Jesus died on the cross and “yielded up his spirit” that the temple curtain was torn in two, the earth shook, the rocks split and many tombs were opened. Matthew says that “many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” Just like the healings these miraculous events were, again, signs of God’s kingdom made manifest on the earth. They were meant to be a foretaste of what is to come.
Confirming the identity of Christ
Secondly, these miracles are intended to confirm the identity of Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God. I think the text that illustrates this well for us is .
And that king “went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and affliction among the people.”

2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

In fact, likely the most famous portion of Matthew’s Gospel begins in chapter 5, which we’ll be preaching through over the next several months, which is known to most of us as the Sermon on the Mount. It’s the single largest teaching by Jesus that’s recorded in the NT - spanning 3 whole chapters. It’s in this message that Jesus teaches his followers concerning the kingdom of God and what it looks like for us to be citizens of that kingdom.

18 tThe disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, 19 calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20 And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ ” 21 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

When John the Baptist, who is in prison, sends men to confirm that Jesus is indeed the Christ Jesus literally responds by pointing them to the miraculous healings he had just performed that very hour. While at first Jesus’ response might seem strange when we realize that these miraculous signs were the very works that the prophet Isaiah had foretold would accompany the Messiah, it becomes clear why this would have been significant to John. No doubt he would have been well acquainted with the Messianic prophecies.
Miracles and the gospel preached
Moreover, what I find exciting about this particular passage here in Luke is that not only are the miracles listed by Jesus evidence of his Messiahship but bundled with them is this one phrase, “the poor have good news preached to them.” Jesus’ miracles go hand in hand with Jesus’ message. Jesus himself, and the prophet Isaiah, affirm that the Messiah would not only perform miracles but would preach the good news of the kingdom. Again, these two things are the hallmarks of Jesus’ ministry which we will continue to see throughout Matthew’s gospel.
Now, I want to point something out back in verse 23,

23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.

Jesus teaches largely inside of synagogues
Let me ask you something. Where is one of Jesus’ primary platforms for ministry? Where does this text say that he regularly teaches? He’s teaching from inside the synagogues, and it’s also the same place from which the Apostle Paul would go and preach the gospel as recorded in the Book of Acts.
Jewish house of worship
Now synagogues are essentially a Jewish house of worship. Depending on where you’re from or where you’ve travelled you may have seen them before. My father-in-law actually spent a portion of his career working at a synagogue in Dayton, OH called Beth Jacob. It’s important to note though that a synagogue is different than the Jewish Temple, there is only one Temple but there can be countless synagogues. One of the primary differences is that sacrifices are to be performed at the Temple but not at synagogues.
Worship format
The format of worship within a synagogue is typically threefold, 1) prayer, 2) the reading of Scripture, and 3) the exposition or teaching of that Scripture. And while priests as setup by Moses had historically been the teachers of God’s law over time scribes, or what we might call lawyers today, became the teachers of God’s law throughout most Jewish houses of worship.
The origin of the synagogue
What I find particularly interesting is that the synagogue appears to have come into existence only a few hundred years before Christ. In fact, many historians and theologians believe that the synagogue came into existence as a result of the Israel’s return from exile around 400 BC. And more specifically, as a result of Ezra’s reading of the Torah, or the first five books of the OT. Now Ezra was both a priest and a scribe and he was instrumental in leading the Israelites out of the land of Babylon. When the Israelites arrive back in their native land Ezra begins reading the God’s law to them. says this,

8 And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the LORD had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 4 And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. 6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. 8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

So what we have here is what appears to be an infantile model of what would later be used for synagogues all across Israel and anywhere a large enough population of Jewish men could gather for worship. Those who were proficient in God’s law, namely scribes or rabbis would teach weekly on the Sabbath and do just as Ezra did and read from God’s Law clearly while giving the meaning, or sense of the text, so that the people understood what was being read. It’s what we would call biblical exposition.
And within synagogues during Jesus’ day it was customary for visiting rabbis to teach at the local synagogue which would have likely made it a natural location for Jesus to teach and preach this good news of the kingdom. And interestingly enough it’s in a similar place of worship, namely the local church, that a minister continues Jesus’ work to teach and proclaim that very same message.
It’s
Blessed is the one who not offended by me
What are we to make of the passages we’ve read here today? How might they apply to our lives? Well, something struck me as I was reading Jesus’ words to the messengers sent by John, particularly verse 23 of chapter 7. I’ll read it again starting in verse 22,
In fact, likely the most famous portion of Matthew’s Gospel begins in chapter 5, which we’ll be preaching through over the next several months, which is known to most of us as the Sermon on the Mount. It’s the single largest teaching by Jesus that’s recorded in the NT - spanning 3 whole chapters. It’s in this message that Jesus teaches his followers concerning the kingdom of God and what it looks like for us to be citizens of that kingdom.
I also want to give us a historical backdrop to help us see some of the things here in the text that might otherwise be obscured.

22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

Listen to that last verse again, “And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Jesus’ message, while it is the best news for sinners, it is incredibly offensive to the natural man. The idea that there is salvation in no one else, [that there is] no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved () is repugnant to sinful man. Man by his sinful nature would prefer to go his own way, to make his own way, and so deny his maker.
And even as Christians we must be careful to heed all the words of our Savior, not just some of them, to believe all that he says, to, without reservation, submit to his word. We don’t get to pick and choose what we like and don’t like, and it’s the same reason that when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray he answered in part by saying, “Pray like this… Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ac 4:12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Hope for restoration
I pray that we would not only obey him but that we would have our hope strengthened as we look forward to the day when there will no longer be any death, sickness, and pain but only eternal joy in the presence of our Lord.
Heavenly Father, hallowed by your name, our desire is that your kingdom would come and that your will would be done, here on earth as it is in heaven. I pray that we would not be offended by your Son but that we would be a people that embrace him at all costs, that our faith would be strengthened by his words.
Thank you Lord that your word has endured even to this day. Help us to heed your words to cherish your words. I pray that your word would nurture us and strengthen us.
In Jesus’ name - amen.
RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →